It was exciting to see a Canadian-made culinary innovation rocket to the top of the charts late last year. The Instant Pot, invented in my hometown of Ottawa, was a runaway success on Amazon throughout November and December, leaving lots of folks looking for recipes adapted for this newfangled cooking appliance. I included the Instant Pot on my recent roundup of great gifts for foodies and I’m still infatuated as I keep having great success with it. It’s easy to use, energy efficient and shortens cooking time dramatically. And if that’s not good enough, it’s also amazingly easy to clean. This beef stroganoff recipe is a great example of why I love it. I was thrilled to serve up an almost-effortless, delicious, hearty meal in just 30 minutes; by comparison, most traditional stroganoff recipes would take at least double that time and would not produce meat anywhere as tender as this version.
Plug in InstantPot and press Sauté. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and butter to the pot. While pot heats, put pepper, salt and flour in a sturdy plastic bag and shake to combine. Add sliced beef and shake well, tumbling the bag with your hands so pieces of beef are evenly coated.
Add half the beef to the hot pot and cook for 3 minutes, flipping meat once, until nicely browned. Remove the first batch of meat to a clean plate; add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and brown the second batch of meat.
When second batch of meat is browned, remove it from the pan. Add remaining 1 tbsp butter and diced onions to pot. Sauté for 1 minute; add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring often.
Deglaze the pot with red wine (or water) and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, to loosen the delicious bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Return the cooked meat to the pot and add thyme, paprika and beef stock.
Put the lid on the InstantPot, make sure the pressure valve is closed and press the Poultry button. I know, we’re working with beef here, but the Poultry setting is what you want, trust me – it will cook the meat for 15 minutes under high pressure which is exactly the right amount of time for this dish.
While meat is cooking, cook egg noodles in a large pot of boiling water; drain when just tender and keep warm.
After the pot has chimed to tell you the 15 minutes of pressure cooking are done, turn the steam release handle manually to “Venting” position to let out steam for fast cooling; the pot should take no more than about 60 - 90 seconds to depressurize. Remove the lid and check the sauce for taste; add additional salt, pepper or paprika to suit your preference.
Combine the cornstarch and red wine vinegar or water in a small bowl and add to the pot to thicken the sauce. Press the Sauté button and let it cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour cream then serve over hot, cooked noodles. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Makes 4 servings.
My family has a bit of an infatuation with nachos. I’m not sure what they love most; some days it seems to be the cheese; other times it’s the toppings.
Above all else, I know they are definitely attracted to those salty tortilla chips. I wanted to see if I could come up with a slightly healthier version that would still hit all the right marks for taste, and this is it. I love the expression ‘more-ish’ when used to describe food, and that’s definitely appropriate here. If you prefer to just assemble the whole thing on an oven-safe tray, that works too. You can also prepare the sweet potato chips ahead of time, then reheat them on the tray prior to adding the cheese and other toppings. Note that these sweet potato chips are dangerously addictive – I apologize for that. And when making them, don’t be tempted to add more oil; they won’t get crispy if you do.
Feel free to get creative with your favourite nacho toppings – shredded chicken or beef, olives, minced green onions are all fantastic additions.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Peel the sweet potatoes and slice very thinly (less than 1/4 inch thick) with a mandoline or a very sharp knife. Put the slices in a bowl and drizzle oil over top. Toss with fingers to ensure both sides of each slice are light coated with oil.
Lay the sweet potato slices out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
While potatoes cook, get your toppings ready.
Bake sweet potato slices for 10 minutes then flip slices over. Bake 10 – 15 minutes longer until starting to crisp up and getting slightly brown around the edges.
Line two bowls with hot sweet potato chips (prewarming the bowls will help them stay hot). Sprinkle cheddar on top of the sweet potatoes.
Add avocado, tomatoes, green pepper and any other toppings you like. Garnish with a dollop each of sour cream and salsa, then serve.
Makes 2 beautiful bowls; can easily be multiplied.
If your kids are like mine, one of the easiest ways to get them to eat more vegetables is to add a delicious sauce. These cauliflower nuggets are easy to make (the kids can even help with the prep) and while they’re yummy on their own thanks to the crunchy coating, the honey-garlic sauce means they’re just bursting with kid-friendly flavour!
Optional garnishes: toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut cauliflower into bite-sizes pieces (about 1 inch).
Put beaten egg in one bowl and Panko in a second bowl.
Dip cauliflower pieces in egg then roll in Panko until evenly coated; place coated pieces onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until bites are turning golden brown on the outside.
While cauliflower cooks, prepare sauce by putting honey, garlic, 4 tbsp of water, soy sauce (and Sriracha, if using) into a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 5 minutes, put remaining 2 tbsp of water and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir to blend, then add to sauce in pot. Increase heat and stir as mixture comes to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, until thickened, then remove from heat.
Put cooked cauliflower in a serving bowl and drizzle sauce over top, tossing with two forks so each bite is coated. Add garnishes if desired and serve hot.